Ethlin called the police around 3:30 p.m. from the couple's apartment at 160 Decatur Street and "stated that unknown people entered her apartment and tied her and her husband up", Deputy Chief Michael Kemper told reporters on the scene on Wednesday.
A relative credits Thompson's faith for the quick forgiveness of her husband's killers.
Thompson and his 100-year-old wife Ethlin in their Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone for decades.
A witness told NBC 4 NY that she frantically came running out of the home pleading for help. "They're church people. I would see them walking around going to the laundromat".
The woman was able to untie herself and call 911, meeting officers at the door and telling them her husband was still tied up inside.
A 55-year-old vendor, Paul Patterson said, "I was coming home from work". When police arrived to the scene, they found her husband, Waldiman Thompson, lying on the floor, still tied up and unresponsive. They performed CPR, but it was too late; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It is unclear whether he was physically beaten or died from heart problems.
Ethlin was also taken to the hospital for minor injuries, including rope burns. The home was ransacked the robbers had fled.
The couple owns the building and collects rent from tenants. The men broke into three-story home located near Decatur St. near Marcus Garvey Blvd and placed a blanket over Ethlin's head and tied the couple up.
The suspects were reportedly caught on surveillance tape and one of the men appeared to be carrying a small box, while another one had a bakcpack. That is what investigators are trying to figure out. It's possible that the intruders knew the couple, since the invasion does not appear to be random, they said. That relative was at the home just 30 minutes before the home invasion.
The couple had been married for decades and moved to the USA from Jamaica when they were younger. Ethlin is a missionary and retired nurse.